Title: "The Glory Days"
Chapter 5/10
Written by: Shawn

Summary: Kim, Tommy, and a visiting Katherine hit NYC's nightlife...
but who's going home with whom when the party's over? Later, the
original Pink Ranger and her worthy successor debate the merits of
loving the same complicated man.

Category: Drama/Romance
Rating: M. Adult language, adult situations, and sexual encounters.
Chapters containing sex scenes will be marked accordingly.
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to the PR universe. If I did I'd be
living in a mansion.

Timeline: Everything up to the end of Dino Thunder is canon. Kim's
background post-"Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie" is all my creation.
This story is set in January 2008.

Email: dayshawn1974@gmail.com

Special Notes: This is being written in Kim's POV, thus it is Kim-
centric with a heavy emphasis on other characters and relationships
as well.

Author's Notes 1: Sit back, relax, and pretend you're about to watch
a new television show airing its series premier. Oh yeah, it's on
cable. It's featuring characters you grew up with and some new ones I
hope you grow to love. None of them are perfect, so don't expect
cookie-cutter characters who always say, act, think, and react in a
Brady Bunch sort of way. They're human and that's why we love them.

Author's Notes 2: All details as to the how and why things are the
way they are will be expiated in the story. Trust me, answers are
coming.

Authors Notes 3: No chapter in this series will feature more than two
scenes in order to make it easier to update more frequently. Also you
might see other PR authors dip into this little universe from time to
time writing their own chapters. I know how and when certain things
will happen, but there is no definitive end to this series. It's
ongoing until... well, until.

Authors Notes 4: TK fans... it's gonna be a slow burn. But you know
me 'wink'.

Authors Notes 5: Expect in the near future for me to allow other PR
authors a chance to write chapters in this ongoing universe. I have
three lined up so far and there may be more, so we'll see. At some
point I might start taking applications if anyone wants to try their
hand.

Authors Notes 6: Most chapters in this series will contain only 2
scenes, but this one requires three. Other's may as well.

Beta Read by: The most amazing, beautiful, captivating, woman in the
world. My fiancé, Gina.

~~~~~~

"Pains of love be sweeter far
than any other pleasures are."
-- John Dryden

"Romantic love is a passionate spiritual-emotional-sexual attachment
between a man and a woman that reflects a high regard for the value
of each other's person."
-- Nathaniel Branden

"There is no greater glory than love, nor any greater punishment than
jealousy."
-- Lope de Vega

~~~~~~

~~ Episode 5 "The Crane, the Falcon, and the Kat"

An unseen announcer speaks over the end of the credits for the
previous program. "Up next, 'The Glory Days'."

(Voice over begins with the show's theme song, Bon Jovi's "It's My
Life" playing in the background.)

"Once upon a time there was a little girl growing up in sunny
California who wanted a typical life." (Footage of a little girl with
curly brown hair chasing an older brother who's stealing her Barbie
dolls, then kicking him hard in the balls when she catches him.) "She
entertained dreams of being the worlds greatest gymnast." (Footage of
the young girl, about ten years old now, racing doing jumps and flips
under her father's instruction in the backyard of a nice house.) "She
was blessed with the best friends a girl could ever want." (Footage
of the young girl, a boy with sandy blond hair, two others with dark
hair, and a pretty Asian girl-all smiling bright for the
camera.) "Like I said, she wanted what she got, a typical life. That
was until high school and the monumental occasion that opened a brave
new world: her first gymnastics competition." (Footage of the teenage
girl preparing for her first meet, looking nervous but
determined..) "Her first true love." (Standing with her best friend,
the girl catches sight of a handsome boy practicing during a martial
arts tournament. He takes her breath away.) "And the absolute most
shocking experience of her young life." (Black and white footage with
the words "TOP SECRET" scrolling across the bottom of the screen...a
Pink Ranger battling alongside her teammates...flying
Zords...fighting against and then along side a Green Ranger...gazing
lovingly at the white-clad martial artist.)

"Then her typical life turned upside down when her parents divorced."
(Shots of the girl seated on a couch during a heart-wrenching talk
with her parents, then a tearful goodbye at an airport with her
mother and another man.) "An opportunity of a lifetime that would
separate her from her friends and her boyfriend." (Images of Coach
Schmidt, the girl addressing her fellow Rangers, walking with Tommy
along the shore, then transferring her powers to a tall blond
girl.) "As one door closed, another opened to a new adventure that
sent her places she never expected to go." (Fast-moving images of a
girl getting off a plane in Florida...training hard...sitting in
classes...talking on the phone to her boyfriend...preparing for the
international gymnastics competition...meeting with the press...an
introduction to a new male friend...a deeply powerful kiss with the
new guy under moonlight...sobbing while writing a letter...more
training...the Pan Global games...breaking up with the new
guy...getting her first apartment...a tense meeting with her ex-
boyfriend after a trip back home...the two of them finally making
peace at a funeral for a dear friend...finishing college with
honors.) "The next phase in her already amazing life came in the form
of a great job opportunity in New York, NY." (Shots of her stepping
off another plane, of gazing out the window of a taxi at the Big
Apple while smiling brightly.) "As it often does when you least
expect it, her life began to take many new twists and turns."
(Meeting some guys at the office...them practicing together in a
band...performing on stage again for the first time in years.) "And
most astonishing of all, a one-in-a-million chance encounter with the
man of her... with someone very special." (Shocked expressions on an
older Tommy and Kim's face at a apartment showing, both worrying over
not being able to pay the rent individually, an idea struck up over
coffee, arguing over moving in and who's stuff goes where, accidental
awkward moments in the bathroom, an almost-kiss in the rain.) "She
wanted a typical life and yet lived anything but. Angel Grove was
chapter one." (Footage of Angel Grove High and the Power Rangers
Command Center
.) "Florida was chapter 2." (Footage of Coach Schmidt's
training compound, the girl's dorm room, and the beach.) "New York is
the latest chapter." (Daytime skyline flyover of the big city
followed by the grown woman walking the streets of NY, looking sharp,
her shoulder length brown hair blowing in the wind, determined and
focused on the life ahead of her.) (On-screen credits read 'Created
and written by Shawn'.) "That young girl who wanted a typical life
grew up to be me. My name is Kimberly Ann Hart and this is my story.
The Glory Days of my life."

~~~~~~

******

******

The Sinful
Upper Balcony
Table in the back
Central Park South/6 Ave
Friday, April 7, 11:35 PM 2008
New York City, NY

"There is no debating this ancient rule," I elegantly pointed out to
my amused audience of two while pouring the chest-hair-growing power
of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon whiskey into their shot
glasses. "Whoever pays for the shots makes the first toast!"

Tommy flashed me a devastating smile. "Who came up with that rule?"

"Jesus." I replied in his snickering face. Kat tells me I'm going
straight to hell. "Not before I make this toast, Pinky Two."

"Okay, Pinky One." Katherine, bless her lovely heart and fifty-bucks-
lighter purse (thanks to me), offered no more debate. "It's
tradition, so go ahead. But hurry up already! I expected to be half
drunk by now. I'm almost disappointed in your partying abilities."

I offer the woman who stole my ex-honey's virginity the middle
finger, which she returned in kind. Raising my shot glass, I note
Tommy's daring smirk. He obviously doesn't expect a lightweight like
me to last long in this game with the likes of him. "You got
something you want to say, Mr. Oliver?"

He had the nerve to clink his glass against mine, with Kat hanging
over his shoulder like a second skin. "It's a good thing you're knee
high to a grasshopper and weigh just as much. It'll be easier for me
to carry your soon-to-be unconscious body out of here."

My inner pit-bull growls at the nerve of that swine. "Aside from the
fact that you'll use any excuse to carry me to bed," I taunted him
seductively while Kat observed us with a most interested
expression, "it'll be the first Pink Ranger who'll be hauling your
forgetful butt out of here at the end of the night."

"We'll see. Now toast!"

Before I could say a word, Tommy gave a lazy lick of his lips, kinda
leaving me silently spellbound for a moment. Kat caught it too, and I
could tell she was just as enchanted from the way she was nibbling at
her bottom lip. Our former leader's looking entirely too damn good
tonight in that black Polo shirt.

We've got this stylish ruby-red couch set back in the corner of the
bar all to ourselves. Tommy sits between Kat and I like some high-
class pimp. Lifting my shot glass a second time, I might as well
toast the past to start off. "To surviving the Pink and White spandex
era!" I called out, eliciting smiles all around. "May it never
return." I pointed a stare at Tommy, alluding to his many ventures
back into the Ranger life.

"Amen," Kat added with a teasing swat to the back of Tommy's
head. "One, two..."

We all chanted "THREE!" and then knocked back our shots. Damn, that's
strong. And I mean kick ass strong! But I hide my reaction well.
Everyone's got their poker face firmly in place. I won't let Kat or
Tommy win no matter what. If I start seeing three of them, then so be
it. I promise myself I'm gonna drink them under the table tonight.

It's not often that any of the former Rangers get a visit from the
very busy lead choreographer of the London-based highly
acclaimed "Judgment of Paris" ballet performance. Katherine's first
American show opened at the New York Theater tonight and it was
fantastic. Tommy and I were so excited for her and when she took a
bow at the end of the show with her performers we cheered the loudest
right from the front row. Zack was out of town this week, but he and
the rest of the gang called Kat one after the other as soon as the
show was over. It was an amazing performance and now we're
celebrating with a night on the town.

"Okay, I'll go next." Katherine poured the second round of shots
before raising her glass. Damn, she was striking. Her new short blond
cut framed her face perfectly. She was beautiful in that sickeningly
effortless way that was so rare these days. Blessed with the kind of
gorgeous, long legs I'd kill for and baby blue eyes men can't seem to
resist. Tommy has sure noticed tonight. And I've noticed that. "I'd
like to toast the stylish Pink Ranger skirt. It was fashionable,
chic, understated, and yet tasteful at a time when comic book and
movie female superhero clothing was meant to make us look like cheap
hookers."

"Here, here," I had to add. "At least everyone knew we were girls.
Trini and Aisha have some horror stories for you when we used to do
those personal appearances. They were always mistaken for men, even
with `Sha's curves."

"I certainly noticed they were girls," Tommy flirted. When met with
two pairs of poisonous daggers, he added "uh…and you guys, too," then
gave us a wink that was far more silly than sexy. "Countdown… one,
two..."

"THREE!" Another shot down. I'm feeling no pain already. We're
laughing and having a ball. Speaking of balls, I whipped Katherine at
pool two out of three games earlier. She anted up fifty bucks as per
our bet while Tommy circled us, no doubt enjoying the view every time
we bent over. I hate that he beat me next, but all I lost was dish
washing duties for the next week. No big deal. Afterwards we hit the
dance floor until drinks we needed liquid libations.

Katherine was the one who suggested doing shots. Since I beat her in
pool I earned the right to pay for them. Tommy was game for showing
us who was boss and that only spiked my compulsive need to put him in
his place. I just hope I can back up my bold words before I end up
worshiping the porcelain God in a few hours.

My ears perked up when one of my absolute favorite songs, "Makes Me
Wonder" by Maroon 5, came on. The place is packed tonight and I love
the energetic atmosphere and good-looking crowd. I'm with two of my
best friends and despite our slightly complicated past, I wouldn't
want to be anywhere else. "You're next, Tommy."

When his lips curled into a wicked smile, I just knew he was up to
something. He poured the third round of shots and then raised his
glass high. I can tell he's in a playful mood tonight. "To the Pink
Rangers who could never get enough of me." He knocked back his shot
while Kat and I stared appalled at his ego.

"Yeah, we could never get enough of you so much that we both dumped
you," Kat threw the past in his face with no small amount of
satisfaction. He shrugged, grinning at her, leaning in just a little
too close. "I dumped you twice." She held up two fingers. He
pretended to bite at them. She held his lingering gaze longer than I
cared for.

"And I wrote you a Dear Tommy letter." Turning his head, he glared at
me that very instant. Oh no, I brought up the accursed letter. He's
clearly annoyed. Mission accomplished. "Next time I end things
between us, if I was ever dumb enough to let us start up again, I'm
gonna stick a Post-It on your car." Kat giggled at that one. "Then
I'm gonna dump you with a spam email. And I'm going to send it to all
three of your accounts." Kat's laughing even harder now. "Then I'm
going to text message you with something like `it was nice while it
lasted'." Kat's flat out dying next to him. "I might even hire a
pilot to fly a banner over your job that says `I'm just not that into
you'."

"You think you're so funny," he fired as a retort, trying his best
not to let me know how entertained he was.

"I could hire a Mexican salsa band to write a song about me dumping
you. They could serenade you outside your bedroom window."

"Enough, Beautiful."

It was Kat's turn to roll her eyes this time. But was it over an old
nickname or the fact that she could see Tommy flirting with me? And
is it wrong for me to hope it's the latter? Yeah, there's some
seriously bitchy chemistry going on tonight and the shots are only
loosening our tongues even more. Nothing was off the table tonight.

I pour our fourth round, enjoying the pleasant buzz that's kicking in
already. My glass is raised. "To Katherine's show tonight. It was
wonderful."

"Absolutely," Tommy chimed in. Katherine, ever the humble person,
accepted the toast with no more than an appreciative smile. "One,
two..."

"Three!"

And we continue our journey on the road to Drunkenville.

Out of the corner of my eye, I found Tommy leaning back in his chair
appearing just a little too pleased with himself. Then I noticed a
small table of guys across the way staring at us. Oh, I get it. Guy
envy. The former Rainbow Bright Ranger is enjoying being seen out
with two very hot women. Kat causes a commotion wherever she goes and
looks-wise, I'm on my A game tonight. My dear best friend is sitting
between us no doubt soaking in the other guy's jealousy. I just have
to knock him off that perch.

Leaning over to reach his ear, I declared, "If only those guys knew
the only pussy you're getting tonight is if you open that e-mail your
mom sent with pictures of her new kitten." I'm evil. I know it. And I
like it.

What I don't like is the way his eyes narrowed minus any anger,
almost as if I'm not in on a secret everyone else knows. His silence
spoke volumes, while Katherine downed another shot rather than offer
any comment to back me up. I don't want to assume anything here, but
I'm nobody's fool. I know all too well how they are with each other.
I just wish I could muster the will not to care.

Fuck...

"So, Kim?" When I look Katherine's way, she filling up our glasses
again. I shake myself free of the Green-Eyed monster when I hear her
voice. "Tell me more about Jacks? I've heard some very good things
about him from Aisha and Trini. It's time to spill, one Pink Ranger
to another."

I shouldn't revel in the tense tick of Tommy's jaw or the way he
focused his attention elsewhere, but I do. And as badly as I wanted
to avoid any games here tonight, I can sense that with the three of
us it's just not possible. There's a possessiveness, a shared past
love, and a passion permanently and irreversibly linking us together.
Strange doesn't begin to describe it. "Jacks is just what I call him.
His real name is Jack Carlson. He's an attorney with Wickman and
Associates in Manhattan. He's tall, handsome, and has a pair of green
eyes a girl could drown in and die happy. He loves sports and
actually follows gymnastics because his younger sister used to
compete in college. I was very impressed with how much he knew about
it. And he's got a great sense of humor, too."

"Can we get on to the next toast or what?" The tension in Tommy's
voice was so thick that you could choke on it. While trying to hide
my satisfaction at his reaction, I found myself deeply involved in
Kat's scrutiny of her ex. She's no fool and is obviously curious as
to what's been going on between Tommy and I that the mere mention of
another man's name would cause him to react this way. As a matter of
fact, I, myself, am just as curious about the status of my
relationship with Tommy as Kat, so I decide to pay closer attention
to his every move as Pinky 2 drills me for information.

"Tommy, hush," Kat gently ordered before gracing me with a smile. "I
want more details. Gossip is the lifeblood of former female Ranger's
conversations. I want a full update."

The former White Ranger downed his shot with no toast at all. Let it
burn, Tommy. Let it burn. And I'm not talking about the
alcohol. "Jacks has made me dinner twice in the last two weeks. We're
pretty casual and still in the `getting to know each other' phase,
but so far so good. I'm not hearing wedding bells or anything like
that, but he's nice."

Kat seems as genuinely pleased that I found someone nice, as any good
friend would be. I doubt her obvious delight is for any other reason.
She's always been a very sincere person, but she's also human. Now,
while I did tell her the real, honest truth about Jacks and I, I also
left the door wide open for her to bang Tommy's brains out tonight if
they're so inclined. But that's really not my business. I just wish I
didn't care.

"I want a picture just as soon as you can send me one, okay?" I nod
and then she raises her shot glass. I raise mine in kind. "To new
beginnings!" A none-too-polite nudge forces Tommy to pour himself
another shot. He begrudgingly complies, the jerk. How could he have
the nerve to act jealous while knowing damn well what he plans on
doing tonight with Kat? "Countdown. One, two..."

"THREE!" The shots are going down easier, but I'm also starting to
feel like the lightweight Tommy knew I would be. So when I see Kat
giggling and pointing at total strangers walking by, I knew the
traditional drunken girly game of `Make fun of everyone else's
clothes, hair, makeup, and dance moves' has begun. It's a matter of
biological fact that women are physiologically compelled to do that
when we are truly and completely sloshed, much like we are right now.
Tough-guy Tommy's trying to fight it, but the slightest slur to his
speech betrays his claim that he's not at all affected by the booze.

"So, Kim, has he made you breakfast yet?" Katherine just had to ask.

Talk about throwing fuel on a fire! Is she fishing for a reaction or
simply greedy for girly-gossip? Either way, I think I'll go with the
truth. "No, not yet. We'll see if things get that far." I swear Tommy
just exhaled a breath he didn't even know he was holding and Kat
seemed to notice as well. "But Tommy had someone make him breakfast a
couple of weeks ago."

Katherine's eyes widened with surprise and mirth. She poked Tommy in
the side, which made him laugh `cause he's ticklish there. Sometimes
I have to remind myself, despite how it grates on my heart, that she
knows him every bit as well as I do. Grudgingly, I also remind myself
that if we're talking about knowing him in the biblical sense, she
really, really knows him. "Are you cheating on us? Confess! It's good
for the soul."

"Cheating?" he chuckled, giving us both a look. "I can't cheat on
women I haven't dated for years, who both dumped me anyway!"

"Don't forget, Tommy, I dumped you twice!" That got Katherine the big
brown eyes of death from the Crayola Ranger.

"I owe neither of you anything!" was all he could say in retort.
Sometimes it's better to gracefully accept you've been beat.

"LIAR!" Kat and I shouted almost at the same time, further
underscoring our connection through this man. We can't help but to
laugh and toast another shot. Okay, I think there might be multiple
Kats and Tommies now. And why do I find the table cloth pattern funny
all of a sudden?

"And I'm sure, my dear Pink Ranger Two, you haven't exactly been the
virginal Saint Katherine of London," Tommy laid it all out for her to
deny, which she didn't. All of us are grinning evilly, as sex talk
and liquor go hand in hand. "Confess!"

Pleasantly flustered, Katherine gave a wave of her hand. "I don't
kiss and tell."

I want to tease her some more, but an immature part of me doesn't
want to see if Tommy would seem jealous by anything she admits
to. "Leave the girl alone, Tommy. Remember what Kat said, you're the
only cheater here." As soon as the words fly out of my mouth I
instantly regret it. Open mouth, insert foot. Tommy's snort said it
all.

Surprisingly enough to my utter shock, Tommy's reply was, "You're
not." And that's when I catch a flicker of darkness shadow
Katherine's eyes. She didn't look pained, more like…guilty. So it
wasn't Tommy who did the deed. I never knew that about them. "But
I've long since forgiven you both." He followed that up with a
laugh. "And the more I drink, the easier it is to forgive."

Brushing aside the past, Katherine poured another round of shots as
the night slipped away from us. She lifted her glass and toasted
seriously this time, to forgiveness and love, even if it makes life
too complicated." Good toast. We knock back our shots minus the
countdown. That's OK, we probably couldn't count to three at this
point anyway.

The soft rhythm of a love song comes on. I think it's something
romantic and sexy by Maxwell that I can't seem to remember the name
of. Hell, I can barely remember my name right now, but I can tell
Katherine and Tommy know this song. The private gaze they share that
makes me wonder if they've made love to this song, and it again dawns
on me that this woman knows him in a way I don't. It would be easy to
not care if the only thing bothering me was that she was his next
girlfriend after I dumped him, but it's more than that. I'd have to
be an idiot to still be carrying that kind of childish resentment
around.

Tommy and Kat dated on and off for years through college and some
years after. Now with the closeness Tommy and I have rediscovered
since moving in together, I hate that part of me wants to be number
one in his life, even if I'm not the woman in his life. Even If I'll
never be.

But at least Katherine isn't either.

The song comes and goes with nothing said between us. The whiskey
shots have fortified my courage and removed any verbal restraints I'd
normally have. That's probably not a good thing. "So why aren't you
two married?" I ask out of the blue while pouring another round of
shots. Clearly surprised, Katherine fixed her eyes on a suddenly
quiet Tommy, who held her gaze, then sought mine. He's clearly not
sure how to answer that.

"Why aren't you and Tommy dating now?" Kat wasted no time turning my
question back on me, and seemed amused at Tommy's nervous reaction. I
think she could tell something's been up with us. I can't help but to
duck my head, not trusting how I would answer with all this alcohol
in my system.

So I say the first thing that comes to mind. "I asked you first."

"But...I'm taller."

"Don't make me hit you with this bottle," I warned while laughing
with her. Even Tommy couldn't let that go by without a
chuckle. "Spill."

Stretching her long legs out under the table, Katherine shifted in
her seat. I swear the wealth of emotions swirling in her eyes is
stunning. "Commitment phobia, my infidelity, and distance finally
ended things between us. We had a good run, though," she sighed as
the memories of what had been came to mind. I know the feeling
well. "But we still love each other. I think for us it's just better
to enjoy what we have as close friends."

"With benefits?" I somehow had the nerve to ask and wish I hadn't.

"Occasionally... when the mood strikes," was her only cheeky reply.
We silently spar in that competitive way women do from time to time,
and then it's over as quickly as it began. "Now it's your turn."

Uh-oh.

"Why aren't you dating Tommy now? And don't tell me you don't love
each other. Remember, I'm taller than you and can smell the truth."

I'm suddenly laughing so hard. "That makes no sense at all and fuck
you very much." Tommy's cracking up beside me, still holding onto his
silence as this intimate conversation about his personal life unfolds
before him as if he weren't even there. "Tommy and I are very
complicated."

"But you love him?" This time it was her turn to ask a question she
may have wanted to take back.

"...sometimes." Mr. Oliver didn't seem too pleased with that answer.
He's staring me down, waiting for me to amend it. Jerk. Stop looking
so handsome! And while you're at it stop making me want you. "Yes, I
love him...when he's not pissing me off."

"I swear I'd be the happiest man in the world if you two would just
merge into my perfect woman." Following his very interesting and
alcohol-induced outburst, Tommy slowly raised his shot glass. His
voice carried an emotionally truthful tone. "To Kim and Katherine,
the most amazing women in the world and the two loves of my life."

While I'm sure both of us wanted to be the sole love of his life, it
doesn't matter tonight. Kat and I clinked glasses and then downed our
shots with Tommy. Afterwards I can't let his comment go without
commentary of my own. "Kat, he's dying for a threesome with us.
Should we put him out of his misery?"

Clearly up for messing with our former boy toy, Kat starting writing
on a small napkin and then passed it to me. It read: "I.O.U for a
threesome sometime in the next ten years beginning in 2008." Kat
signed her name and then I quickly signed mine for the hell of
it `cause I'm outrageously drunk and even that might be an
understatement. I sat up straight and handed the napkin to Tommy.

His eyes bugged out a bit and then he gave us both an inspired
smirk. "Don't think I won't redeem this someday. I'm gonna keep this
and put it right next to the letter you sent me."

Like he still has it, the jerk. "Oh shut up."

Katherine stood from her seat and stretched her arms out, enjoying
the pull of muscle. "Guys, as much fun as this has been I'm ready to
call it a night before I pass out. I'm going to the ladies room and
then it's bed time for me."

"I'll see you to your hotel," Tommy added before I could say a word.
Kat gave a small nod, appreciating the sentiment. I know the real
deal here, but whatever. I'll take my cab home alone while they take
theirs to her luxury hotel to... Dammit! Stop Kim! Whatever they do
or don't do isn't any of your business. He's not yours. Not really.

But he should be.

I think.

I'm so damn blitzed from all those shots it's only when I hear
Tommy's voice that the fog clears from my mind.

"I'm just being a gentleman, Kim."

Gentleman my ass. When I turn to face him, he's staring straight
ahead. "If that were true you'd be looking me in the eyes."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"I'm not stupid, Tommy. There's one reason and one reason only why
you're seeing Katherine to her hotel. And it sure as hell isn't
because you're worried a twenty-eight year old woman can't find her
way to her room."

He twisted his body in my direction, invading my personal space. The
tension between us burned that very second "Why does it matter to
you?"

"It doesn't!" I snapped at him.

"Liar," he accused me right back.

"No, you just want me to care." Damn you! You make me so angry
sometimes I want to slap the taste out your mouth. "You want me
seething with jealousy like some lovesick teenager." His expression
hardened while something thrilling swirled in my belly. "You want me
sitting here with tears in my eyes wishing you'd go home with me
instead of her."

"No, I don't want you to cry about it, and I'm not looking for your
permission."

"You sure didn't ask for it the last time you boned that bimbo."

An angry shadow fell over his face. "She wasn't a bimbo."

"No..." I'm practically snarling at him. "She was exercise."

"And how will Jacks be any different?" I can't believe he had the
nerve to say that. "We both know why you're so into him now."

"Care to enlighten me with your psychic abilities?"

Tommy moved in so close the warmth of his breath fanned my cheeks.
His low, husky voice railed on me, "Deep down, you're afraid of what
you really want, so you're throwing yourself into another dead-end
relationship to hide. You'll get tired of him just like all the rest.
For now, he's safe."

I either want to cry or punch him. "How dare you judge my personal
life?"

"You're an emotional coward," he fucking dared to say.

I've never been so angry or aroused in my entire life. "You have five
seconds to take that back."

"I won't. Just like you won't take what you really want."

I finally do with such desperate need, eating his hot mouth with the
most sinfully seductive kiss I've ever given a man. I'm drunk,
anxious, and turned on beyond words, clutching my arms around his
neck while he's sucking on my tongue so hungrily I'm afraid I'm about
to come. I swear to God I'm so close to cumming it's scary. I'm
kissing him so deeply my heart aches, savoring the sweet taste of his
passion. Fuck, I just can't stop kissing him, swirling my tongue
around his, both of us moaning out of control. My clit is throbbing,
so ready for the wild and hard lovemaking I'm dying to have with this
man.

We're so drunk off the shots and each other our hands are everywhere
at once, suckling lips, coasting mouths, loud shameless kissing I'm
so addicted to I want to fuck him right here and now.

It's with a sigh of the deepest resignation that I release his mouth,
but not my hold around his neck. "Am I still a coward?" His flushed
smile left me breathless. "Or do you need a minute for the blood to
rise back up to your brain to convey a coherent thought?"

"I thought you were a singer, not a comedian?"

Moving away from him, I'm on my feet staring in his warm brown
eyes. "Tell Kat goodnight for me and that I'll see her again before
she leaves. I'm going home."

He's watching my every move, trying to gauge what that kiss
meant. "Where do you want me to go?"

Inspiration strikes at the most interesting times. While slowly
backing away from the table, I'm somehow compelled to say, "Follow
your heart."

Not paying attention to anything after that, I'm outside and in a cab
on my way home before I even realize it.

Dear God what have I done now?

******

******


The rooftop
115 West 57th Street
Saturday, April 8, 3:00 AM 2008
New York City, NY

Tommy never came home.

While clutching my arms around myself tighter to ward off a windy
chill, I can't say that I'm surprised. I was born at night, but not
last night.

He's probably fucking Katherine right now.

Crude, yeah, I know. I can't help but to see it that way. Dropping
the F-bomb helps me deal by imagining a hard and fast encounter minus
the timeless, romantic lovemaking I don't ever want to think about
them enjoying. I can't stand the carnal images crawling around my
head, breaking my heart a minute at a time. Those same images that
have erased my ability to sleep and left me so restless I'm standing
outside alone on my roof at 3:00 AM in the fucking morning all by
myself.

The city has never looked so lonely. And I've never felt so lonely,
either.

At least my new beige coat looks great on me. It's providing all the
warmth I'm going to feel tonight as there are no strong arms wrapped
around me. There are no soft words being whispered in my ear to make
me smile or want to roll over and satisfy... I'm thinking too much. I
can't seem to get my brain to shut down long enough for me to relax.
I want that passionate kiss I gave Tommy back. I wish I never knew
the pleasure of having my tongue in his mouth while raking my fingers
through his hair. I want to stop thinking about him. I want him out
of my system for good!

But he just won't go.

My heart's holding on too tight.

It sucks to be me. I've got a nagging headache, a mild hangover, and
I'm so angry and sad at the same time I could scream. I haven't yet,
but I still might. My feelings don't make sense to me. Lord knows I
gave Tommy all sorts of mixed signals tonight. Sure, I could blame
the kiss on the drinking, but deep down I'm so conflicted over
wanting him versus wanting him to want me while still remaining
single. It's like I want to be able to date and live my life how I
want to, but I don't want him to do that. And of course that makes no
sense and is so unfair.

Whatever. I'm a woman. Unfair has been our battle cry since time
began.

I shouldn't give a damn where Tommy is or who he's with. I've got a
great guy. A really hot guy who is very into me and if I called him
right now at this late hour, he'd invite me to his place, and his
bed, in a heartbeat. I don't have to be standing out on this stupid
rooftop all by myself like some lovesick spinster on the verge of
crying when I could be getting some, too.

And I need some soooooooo bad. It's been like forever. A woman
shouldn't go as long as I have without being touched that way, even
if it's just safe recreation with a nice guy you've gone out with a
couple of times. Yep, I'm justifying casual sex. Men justify needing
sex as easily as needing to breathe. Well, it might not be right or
politically correct, but I'm a normal woman who needs to feel alive
every once in a while. A career, a great family, and some really good
friends aren't all I want out of life.

But here I am, gazing out over the wonder and majesty of New York
City all by my lonesome. My pity party is rocking and rolling. I
can't sleep because every time I close my eyes I swear I can hear
Tommy and Katherine laughing in bed. I can see them making love and
it just burns me up inside. I don't want to care! I don't need this
shit! I'm a mature, grown, beautiful woman with a great career and I
don't need to drive myself crazy over what any man is doing!

Fuck!

The sight of my eight-hundred dollar iPhone hitting the pavement
below after I threw it off the roof only underscored how bad a place
I'm in tonight. Even more than being jealous, I'm pissed off at
myself. If I wanted Tommy I could have him. I know that. I feel that.
I just haven't and I'm still not sure why. Yes, I need and value his
friendship. Our bond is one of the most important things in my life.
We're best friends.

But he and Kat are lovers.

And I can't stand it.

Truth be told, if Tommy had come home tonight we wouldn't have had
sex. I would probably have made us coffee and we'd end up curled on
the couch watching a old black and white movie before the long work
week caught up with us and we fell asleep. Maybe my head would be
nestled up on his shoulder. Maybe he'd kiss my forehead like he does
sometimes that I like so much. Maybe he'd whisper that he loves me. I
know he does.

The feeling is mutual.

But is that it?

Am I in love with Tommy?

That answer is so complicated. Yes doesn't do it justice, and no just
doesn't feel totally honest, even if in a way it is.

Now I wish I had something else to throw, and that makes me smile in
a weirdly Insane-Kim sort of way. If I want the man in my life then I
need to stop playing games. And if I don't, I need to get on with my
life. I certainly did when I went to Florida and every second of
every day after that. Nothing about how I feel now is because of what
Tommy and I shared in high school. It was much more than a fling
then, but we were so young and inexperienced in just about
everything.

The here and now has us in this strangely wonderful relationship. I'm
happily unmarried to him. What does that really mean? He's mine, but
we don't have sex. I can date and so can he, but no falling in love
with other people or each other allowed. We share meals and dish
washing duties, but not beds and showers. We don't say we need each
other, but we do. Dearly so.

Good `ole Insane-Kim logic.

Now that logic is biting me in the backside. This has got to be one
of the most stupid, immature things I have ever done. Who in their
right mind stands outside on a rooftop at 3 a.m. all alone and
worrying over what your ex-boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend might be
doing? I do, apparently. I'm an emotional mess tonight and could
probably use another drink…of hot chocolate.

Hey, who said that? Oh, hi subconscious. Hot chocolate it is.

Katherine's leaving tomorrow night and I haven't had near enough one-
on-one girl time with her to talk and catch up on all the exciting
things going on in her life. I adore her. I truly do. She's so sweet
her DNA must be made of cookie dough. And contrary to even some of
our friend's beliefs, we've never had words over Tommy. Not once. We
each had and have our own relationship with him. It's just that both
of us, for reasons personal only to us, want to be number one to him,
even if we're not with him.

It's our private competition and it'll last a lifetime.

I'm having one heck of a dramatic hangover.

Okay, alright, it's hot chocolate and a good movie time. If I can't
sleep, I'm not going to stand out here whining and complaining to
myself all night. I'm gonna walk right back inside to my apartment
and...Oh what the hell? Come on! Give me a break already!

It's raining!

Hard!

April showers bring May flowers, but right now I'm being soaked to
the bones. Great, just great. Rain makes it perfect. And then it
suddenly hits me. Something so ridiculously silly and yet so
satisfyingly uplifting comes to mind that I shout at the top of my
lungs, "FUCK YOU MOTHER NATURE!"

For some incredible reason, despite being drenched, I feel so much
better, as if a weight has been lifted. I'm smiling in the rain and
almost feel like dancing. So what if Tommy is or isn't doing whatever
with Kat. I'm not going to let that ruin my night. I'm going to kick
the green-eyed monster in the balls and get back inside my building
before I catch a cold.

Offering a final middle finger to the sky, I'm outta here!

*******

*******

The Regency Hotel
540 Park Avenue
Room# 910
Saturday, April 8, 3:30 PM 2008
New York, NY

I have the worst luck ever with elevators, hence my current
precarious predicament.

Apparently having just emerged from the hotel pool, one Mr. Very
Hairy is standing behind me in only a Speedo and enough chest hair to
make a bear envious. He's giving off such a fowl scent that I'm sure
stealth radar could detect him from orbit. Adding insult to my nose's
injury, I think he's staring at my ass and I pray to God he doesn't
try to hit on me. If he does I might hurl. Heck, if I don't get off
this elevator soon I might hurl anyway.

Sixth floor... I haven't committed suicide yet... seventh floor...
this is just revolting.... eighth floor... Did furry guy behind me
air out a yet another silent but deadly...? Ninth floor at last!

Please open, please open, please open! My feet are moving double time
out of the elevator away from the hairy man that smelled like hot
Cheeto's and moldy bologna. God, I hate being stuck on an elevator
with someone drilling holes in my nasal cavity. Thankfully, my nine-
floor odor ordeal is over.

From the moment I parked until I walked inside the Regency Hotel,
it's bad-ass to a whole other level. The company backing Katherine's
show has her going first class all the way. I don't even want to
guess what this place costs a night, but its exclusive Park Avenue
location just reeks of luxury and it's so close to Midtown Manhattan
that almost anything you could want to do in NY is a short cab ride
away. I wish Katherine was staying longer so we could hang out more
and I could show her around. Alas, she's leaving tonight. Her show's
on the road touring the States, something all of her friends are so
proud of, and despite last night's interesting happenings, I have to
say goodbye in person. And that's the only reason I'm stopping by
unannounced. Really.

It certainly has nothing to do with Tommy not coming home last night
or all day today. At least not as of four hours ago when I hit the
road to run some errands, stop at my bank, and pay some bills. Now
I'm standing outside Kat's hotel room thinking a little too much
about what I might find inside. Jealousy's burning inside me like a
lit fuse I wish could blow out already. I gotta get my act together
and stop mentally bitching about what some guy is doing with some
girl. Especially when the guy isn't mine! What's important here is
saying goodbye to a close friend and wishing her well on her tour.

But what's crazy is me worrying that she'll come to the door glowing
with a post multi-orgasmic happy flush from a night of glorious
shagging with the guy I'm not at all in love with, but have tons of
weirdly complicated feelings for.

Yeah, I think in long run-on sentences. It's my head, so...

Moving right along, I knock twice. Kat moves light as a feather as
she opens the door a moment later waving me inside without me having
heard so much as one footstep. She looks utterly fantastic and happy,
which makes me happy and a bit somber at the same time. I'm about to
say `hi' when she points to the phone pressed against her ear.

She gives me a big hug and then says into the phone, "Tanya, Kim just
arrived. I'll talk to you later on tonight when my flight arrives in
Chicago... Okay, I'll tell her you said hi...Yeah, I love you too.
Give Adam and the Pookie a kiss for me. Bye."

Little Sierra Park, a.k.a `the Pookie', is Tanya and Adam's super-
fast two-year old who can go from crawling to warp speed in the blink
of an eye. I haven't seen her in six months and I've got to rectify
that. She the first and only Ranger baby and needs some spoiling from
her Aunt Kim. "How's T doing?"

Katherine finished zipping up her make-up bag and then joined me on
the living room sofa. "T's fine, just worried about the stormy
weather and me flying out tonight. Adam reminded her we've flown
through deadly asteroid fields and out of the range of exploding
planets, so a little wind isn't that big of a deal. but we did get a
ton of rain late last night."

I nod rather than admit I was drenched by it on my rooftop when I
decided to find out if my iPhone could fly. As happens once in a
while, my mind and mouth decide not to work as a team when I say, "I
didn't think you'd notice."

Kat's smirk says it all, as she's well aware of what I had assumed
took place last night. She almost looks amused. "I'm a light sleeper,
Kim. I noticed."

"Yep." I replied kinda cheeky while we just sit there waiting for
someone to acknowledge and then shoot the humongous elephant in the
room. Where's a rifle when you need it?

"He's not here, Kim."

Time to play dumb. "Who?"

Her piercing blue eyes ripped me a new one. "Who?" Katherine repeated
while her arms crossed her chest. "Santa Claus, Kim. Santa's not
here." Okay, that bit of silliness broke the ice. Good. At least
we're laughing now. "He left three hours ago to hit the gym. We had
our goodbye."

Yeah, I bet you did. `Sayonara sex' every which way you could. Oh
shut up, Kim. That's none of your business. "I should have called
before stopping by. I didn't want to interrupt anything."

Katherine shook her head. "You wouldn't have been and you never have
to call me before stopping by. That's not how we are."

"I know, I know." Comprehending the value of our friendship, I almost
feel like apologizing to her. Exhaling a breath I didn't realize I
was holding, I'm still not sure what to say. "I wish you could stay
longer. I've missed you." It's the sincere truth and her smile
revealed the same.

"Me too. I love New York. It's so busy and alive. I wish I had time
to check out you and Tommy's apartment."

"Maybe the next trip. You'd love it."

She pursed her lips together. "There's a lot about the Big Apple that
I love."

And there goes my cynical grimace. "I'm sure Tommy's one of the
reasons too."

"That applies to you as well."

She didn't ask. She just knows me that well. We vibe like this,
Katherine and I. Verbally sparring just lightly enough to be
competitive without it ever being mean-spirited must be a Pink Ranger
thing. "Touché," I said, as there was no other appropriate
reply. "I'm sorry for running off last night without saying goodbye."

Suddenly, a taunting smile curled her lips. "Yeah, after I caught you
and Tommy smooching I was wondering where my goodbye kiss was," she
revealed so evilly. "That was pretty hot by the way."

"I was pretty toasted at the time."

"You were inhaling his face," Katherine noted as my brain
scrambled. "And Tommy didn't seem to mind one bit."

Damn right he didn't! I mean... not that it mattered... I think. "I
didn't know you saw that."

"I pee really fast," she felt the need to relay, which did ease the
tension. We're odd that way. "By the time I was back at the table I
figured you two were competing for the World Championship of French
kissing. I was almost expecting one of you to ask me to borrow a
condom so you could get it on right there at the table."

"Get it on?" I laughed. "You've been watching Happy Days on
Nickelodeon, haven't you?"

"No, but I've gotten it on with Tommy plenty of times to know when
he's hot for some action," she replied with a witchy grin. "He was
burning for you from what I could tell."

"Jealous?" I had the nerve to ask.

She held two fingers up, closely together. "A smidgen... or a lot.
I'm still debating it."

I winced inwardly. "And yet he still went home with you last night,
Pinky 2."

"But we didn't get it on, Pinky 1."

I didn't expect that one, not that it should have mattered to me
anyway. Their relationship is theirs and it's none of my business, so
why does it feel like there's a little party going on in my
heart? "Um, hi?"

"Hello to you, too, Kim. I knew we'd get around to greetings
eventually." We're so backwards it's funny. If Tommy never existed
I'd probably be as close to Katherine as I am to `Sha and Trini, but
because of him our friendship would always carry with it a unique
note. It's something I think we're still coming to grips with.

Kat gently tapped my arm, yanking me away from my inner thoughts. "So
why did you kiss him last night?"

"Why didn't you sleep with him last night?"

"You first."

"Fine…I wanted to. The alcohol played a hand, and I was horny, and
kinda jealous. Did I mention the alcohol? Your turn."

After a noteworthy sigh, Katherine fussed with her hair, seemingly
choosing her words carefully. Interest sparkled on my face big
time. "I'm seeing someone...and I've been very, very quiet about it
so far."

Woah! Katherine's got a secret honey? So our little decade-long
triangle becomes furthermore complicated. "Congratulations and why
haven't I heard about this, at least in an email?" She offered a
weak, cautious smile. Why do I suddenly feel as though I'm treading
on fragile territory?

"Its very new and...its only five months old. It's still pretty
casual, like you and Jacks." She then added with a slight expression
of anxiety on her face. "Just less innocent, if you catch my drift."

Gotcha. You're getting laid. I can't fault that. And again, wow. I
leaned over and gave Kat another hug that rips away whatever
weirdness sometimes settles in between us. "I'm not happy that you've
found someone because it means you're out of the Tommy race. First
off, there is no Tommy race, at least not officially. And second, I
want you to be happy. I really do. I think the world of you, Kat."

"Thank you," she replied. For some strange reason I couldn't grasp
why she didn't look relieved. It's not that she had to tell me,
but...there's more to this story. I won't pry, but I can sense
something big on the horizon.
"So we're both dating someone casually, but kinda exclusively,
correct?"

"Yes, I'd say that was a fair assessment."

"So do you know what that means?"

"Do tell?" she smiled.

"We not only got over Tommy years ago, but we stayed over him!"

"You just haven't been under him yet," she taunted playfully. "Which
is your biggest problem, I think."

"Sleeping with Tommy won't make my year or change my life, dear
Katherine."

"No, but it would put a smile on your face and end the tension
between you two once and for all."

"Trust me, we've come close..."

"California, I know."

Of course she would. She's one of, if not Tommy's closest confidant.
She knows things Jason doesn't know, probably even more than me,
which hurts a little on some level. "If we had given in that night,
it would have been for the wrong reasons."

Kat nodded her agreement. "But even still, it revealed you still both
want each other."

"But we're not in love." Here's where my detective eyes search her
face for even a hint that she might know otherwise from Tommy.
Unfortunately for me, her Poker face kicks ass. "I know we don't need
that to sleep together, but his friendship is so important to me that
I don't want to complicate things and mess it up."

"Newsflash, Pinky One. Things are already complicated. Hence your
impersonation of an Alien face-sucker on his mouth last night." I
rolled my eyes at her snicker. "It's perfectly fine to say you're not
in love with Tommy. I can say the same thing, but can you answer this
one: are you sure beyond a shadow of a doubt you're not in love with
him?"

"Can you?"

"Yes, but I've had years of relationship and physical intimacy with
him as an adult. I know fully in my heart that I will always love and
need him in some way, but we aren't meant to be together. I've made
peace with that, although it took a very long time. Now you?"

It dawns on me that at this very moment, I feel like running out of
here. I don't want to acknowledge any of this out loud, but I
probably need too. And Katherine can in this instance understand
better than
anyone else. "I'm not one hundred percent sure of how I feel about
Tommy, but it's not strong enough to make me not want to date other
people and see what's out there."

"That's fair enough and not something anyone could fault you for."

I blurt out without thinking, "but even when I come home from great
dates I know he's there waiting for me...and I'm relieved. I know
that whether the guy I'm seeing is Mr. Wonderful or Mr. Jerk, there's
a guy at my house who respects me and loves me and is there for me no
matter what. A guy who doesn't mind that I'm short or have strange
little quirks or a slight overbite or that I walk around with face
cream on in the evening. I know he doesn't mind if I shut off the TV
to play my guitar in the living room. I know I can say anything to
him and still have him in my corner. I know that no matter how bad I
might mess up in life I can't lose him."

Kat slowly shook her head before making her keen assessment. "You are
soooooooo unmarried to Tommy."

My hands cover my face, shadowing a chuckle. "I know. Believe me, I
know." We're laughing again and it feels so good. "He's too handsome
for his own good."

"And that body of his," Kat noted a bit too fondly. "He has no clue
how hot he is and when you tell him, he doesn't get it."

"And he's sweet," I had to admit. "He's always carrying my bags and
opening doors for me."

"He holds your hand in public like a gentleman is supposed to."

"And he smells good all the time."

"And he's so great in bed that when he's done you're just lying their
trying to catch your breath, staring at the ceiling, thinking how
lucky you are to have just gotten boned by the likes of him."

"Oh please, he can't be that good." Kat's staring holes into me with
zero blinking. I swallow hard. There's only one thing to say. "Bitch."

"Takes one to know one," she smiled at the end, and then it withered
away towards something eerily serious. For a moment I'm
worried. "Life's so full of surprises, Kim."

"Like your new honey?" I'm prying because I care. I'll back down if
she wants for the same reason. "I'd love some details if you don't
mind. Can you at least tell me his name?"

Spoken softly, and with a note of mild apprehension, "Sara."

"You new guy's name is Sara?" My brows rise accordingly.

"Sara isn't a guy, Kim." My jaw just dropped. An unusual silence
enveloped us for a brief moment. "Obviously, Sara is a girl's name.
I'm seeing a woman."

I nod. I smile. I'm not sure how to react. I'm shocked. It's cool,
but so unexpected. Then my heart tells my mouth to say something that
relieves Kat of any tension she's feeling about her revelation. "So I
guess this totally takes you out of the Tommy race forever?"

She's laughing so hard now. I give her time to say as much as she's
comfortable with. "I'm pretty sure that I'm bisexual, Kim. I never
had feelings for a woman before Sara. She's a lawyer in London I met
at an after party for one of my shows. We hit it off so well, became
fast friends, and then lovers. Trust me, I didn't know what was
happening, only that she was touching my heart in places I never knew
existed." Kat looked truly pleased to be sharing this with
me. "Sara's just coming out of a long relationship, and this is my
first ever with a woman. Like I said before, we're casual and free to
see other people, but she's special and even if we don't last, I know
in my heart I am capable of loving a woman as easily as loving a man.
And the sex is so hot, you just don't know."

"I haven't known anything about hot sex in so long I might not
recognize it if I saw it."

"Tommy would be more than happy to rectify that for you." Kat alluded
no further, but it's obvious last night they discussed us. It's her
turn not to pry any further. "What else would you like to know?"

"Who else knows, do you have a picture, and do you know that I love
you and don't see you any different than I ever have before?"

She's tearing up, so I hug her again and linger. We break as she
composes herself. I think our friendship has entered a new phase
altogether. I truly feel close to her. "My parents know. Tommy and
Tanya do as well. Justine, my good friend from college knows too. I
haven't told anyone else yet, but I will someday when I have things
figured out more in my head. For now I'm enjoying life and the
company of someone beautiful and sexy who's wonderful to me. I'm just
enjoying life."

"That's all that matters."

"That and your friendship, Kim. I love you too." When I start
laughing again, she asks, "Do tell what's got you amused now, Pinky
One?"

"Not only have I never slept with Tommy, but not another woman
either. You just keep one-upping me, don't cha, Pinky 2?"

"If we give Tommy that threesome, we can knock out two birds with one
stone."

"I don't do tall chicks."

Kat hit me with a pillow.

All was right with the world.


******

(Closing credits roll while voice over previewing the next episode
begins)

On the next epsisode of 'The Glory Days' *slow, hauntingly sensual
music plays, intercut with quick flashing images* "A man and a woman
wet under a hot showers spray... Kim confronting someone angrily...
Tommy running hard down a busy city street as fast as he can, sheer
terror etched on his face."

Suggested listening music for Episode 5:

"It's My Life" – Bon Jovi

"Counting Sheep" – Amy Jo Johnson

"What If It's You" – Reba McEntire

"Like you'll never see me again" - Alicia Keys

"Haunted" – Evanescence

"In the air tonight" - Phil Collins

"Stand In The Rain" - Superchick

"Sara Smile" - Hall and Oates